Pharmaceutical company Mylan came under fire this week for raising prices on their EpiPen—a lifesaving drug containing epinephrine and used by people suffering from severe allergic reactions—by more than 400% over the course of a few years.
Lawmakers, including senators Chuck Grassley and Richard Blumenthal, are seeking explanations for the price increase. Mylan's defended themselves by blaming the broken health care system for "incentiviz(ing) higher prices," but NBC News reports that EpiPens aren't the only Mylan product with a rapidly escalating price.
Back in June, Wells Fargo's David Maris issued a (prescient) report saying Mylan may face public scrutiny for their price hikes in the near future. The reasons why, NBC News reported, included a 542% increase for gallstones medication ursodiol, a 444% increase in gastroesophageal reflux disease treatment metoclopramide, and a 400% increase in dicyclomine, used in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
“Given the regulatory environment, these pricing actions could bring greater scrutiny and headline risk,” Maris wrote in his June report. Sure sounds like it!
The company, as of now, has a "near monopoly" on the epinephrine auto-injector market, but a generic option is coming soon, meaning this is the company's last chance to garner profits off their market advantage.
Mylan is currently attempting to make amends in the face of increased scrutiny, promising to "reduce costs" for some customers by "expand(ing) access and increas(ing) benefits to programs that it uses to help consumers pay less," like their EpiPen patient assistance program, which waives costs for low-income patients. They have stopped short, however, of saying they would change the price of EpiPens.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.